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So I have previously bought my dahlias from garden centres in summer but this year ordered a few tubers from websites. Looking back I have probably started them off too early but that being done I can’t change that but I am having a couple of problems if anyone can help?

the first photo below shows this particular plant being too leggy, the stems are too thin to hold any kind of weight as the plant grows, I know about pinching out but such is the gap between pairs of leaves if I wait for the 4th pair it’s going to be falling over, should I pinch out now or is there anything I can do to help make it grow sturdier?

secondly the photo on the bottom shows how the initial pair of leaves have appeared from the compost coated in a white substance that covers the lower leaves, this appears to brush off and has occurred on a couple of the tubers I’ve started, is this anything to worry about or do something to?



  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,972
    I'd pinch the first plant back to just above the first pair of leaves. 
    Give it lots of light, even standing it outside during the day
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,758
    edited 10 April
    Where abouts are you? I would back off on the water, pinch out and not worry too much.
  • I am in Norfolk, I’ve got 3C predicted as a low tonight and after that nothing below 6C for the foreseeable future, I have tried leaving them outside a little but found their leaves yellowing slightly
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,758
    If you do put them outside, you would need to 'harden them off' for a few weeks first; that is - get them used to being outside, gradually acclimatising them to the very different conditions of your garden. Try a few hours a day in the warm sun then bring them in. Extend the outside period, bringing them in at night. This will stop them going into shock, which can arrest growth. They are tropical plants so really don't enjoy the cold. Fleecing might help if you have some.
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